I’m well aware that we are entering the very last full weekend before Christmas. Most people are spending time in their kitchens baking up holiday treats of spiced cookies, bars, cakes, cocktails and puddings. What have I been doing? Making this slaw salad.
Having said that, I indisputably stand behind this slaw as being more than appropriate for the holidays. It has many things going for it, most obvious being it’s vivid colours – a platter of celebratory red and green permeated with seasonal sensation. Ludicrously lit up from within, it appears to glow on the table.
It’s festive in it’s own right.
When you find yourself preparing and eating this salad at least twice a week without reservation, you know it’s faultless. What makes it hard to feel guilty about continually finding my way back to this slaw is how hopelessly easy it is to make and just as effortless to eat.
Our days have been short and hauntingly dark as of late. Winter finds itself creeping into our heads and our hearts, calling to us in unforeseen whispers. Just seeing this dish at the table brings an unexpected sense of assurance.
Simply put, it brings light into the darkness.
This winter slaw is outstandingly sharp and biting – the ruthless tang of the citrus really elevates the humble red cabbage to a moment of grandeur. When yielding, rich, stewed and braised foods are a common thread throughout the bitter months, it is a great relief to have a dish with such texture and freshness.
Because I tend to favour a heady dose of heat in bright and intense salads as these, I add quite a bit of fresh red chili. And because I like my slaws so severely sharp and so ruthlessly astringent, I really douse the cabbage with the lime juice. When I have radishes on hand, I will typically julienne and include those as well. What follows, truthfully, isn’t actually a recipe. Simply combine the raw ingredients with the lime juice and oil and toss – the rest (amounts and ingredients) is up to you. The point, really, is that this slaw can be adapted any number of ways to suit your personal needs and to make this salad your own.
I do know that I will continue to make this dish, likely until spring rears it’s long overdue head. These days, I will seek out illumination and intensity however I can.
Red (Winter) Cabbage Slaw
¼ – ½ head of red cabbage – finely shredded
1–2 cups of brussels sprouts – cored, outer leaves discarded, and finely shredded
1–3 fresh red chilis – thinly sliced
1 scallion – finely sliced (optional)
1 cup radishes – julienned (optional)
3-4 limes – juiced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Maldon Sea Salt
(1) Combine shredded, sliced and julienned vegetables in a large bowl.
(2) Douse slaw with lime juice. Add olive oil to your liking. Season with sea salt. Toss to combine.
* I prefer lime juice, here, to lemon. Adjust to your own preference.